Letters, Week of Oct. 24, 2013 | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Letters, Week of Oct. 24, 2013

Hail Mary — she’s right on target

To The Editor:
Re “Senators stymie women’s agenda” (letter, by Mary L. Jenkins, Oct. 17):

I appreciate Mary L. Jenkins’s letter calling on the New York State Senate to return to Albany and pass Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act in its entirety. As Ms. Jenkins notes, the Assembly has already passed all 10 provisions of the act. Shamefully, though, the Senate failed to bring to the floor the crucial tenth provision that would codify the reproductive-health protections won by women more than 40 years ago in Roe v. Wade. I agree with Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my Democratic Senate colleagues that it is imperative the full 10-point package be passed.

I strongly believe the Senate should heed Ms. Jenkins’s call and return to Albany as soon as possible to finish our work on the Women’s Equality Act.
Brad Hoylman
Hoylman is state senator, 27th District

BID always focused on basics

To The Editor:
Re “Secret vote on the Soho BID was some tricky business” (talking point, by Sean Sweeney, Oct. 17):

Since the outset of the Broadway Soho BID effort, Councilmember Margaret Chin has been pushing for equal residential and commercial voting, as well as a minimal budget to focus only on basic needs. I should know since I have been co-chairperson of the business improvement district’s steering committee since its inception.

On March 10, 2013, before the final public hearing by the City Council Finance

Committee, the Soho Alliance stated the following as its public demand to Margaret regarding the Soho BID:

1. Fair representation for residential owners and tenants;

2. No weighted voting, which unfairly favors commercial owners (see below);

3. Protection of our public space — no commercial activity on streets and sidewalks;

4. Narrowing the BID’s focus to sidewalk sweeping, congestion and vendor control.

Personally, I find it laughable that our BID effort was Margaret’s pet project. Quite the contrary, it seems that her perspective is and always was closely aligned with the Soho Alliance. It was because of her and her staff’s efforts that on March 13, 2013, the BID Steering Committee supported amending the plan to include 50 / 50 voting, confirming there wouldn’t be either street fairs or street vendors and agreeing to further narrow the BID’s potential scope. My personal testimony is of public record and can be checked. Keep in mind that 79 percent of the square footage in the neighborhood is commercial and that 81 percent of the taxes paid in the neighborhood are commercial.

In April, after the 30-day objection period ended, property owners’ votes were tallied and less than 6 percent of the district objected to the plan as drafted. Despite not having significant objections, Margaret still made sure that the plan was amended to reflect 50 / 50 voting, no street fairs or vendors, a narrower scope and more public meetings.

I don’t know why it took from April until now for the Finance Committee to vote. However, looking back at the Soho Alliance’s March 2013 demands, it appears they got what they wanted. I suppose we did too, in the sense that we will finally have a BID to help the neighborhood. Given that, it seems clear that Margaret did her job as our representative — she helped forge a middle ground.

Looking forward, I agree 100 percent with Pete Davies’s quote from the article — the BID does have its work cut out. I am ready for that work, and I hope that people like Pete are now ready to join us to help our neighborhood. If you are interested, please visit the following link to learn how or contact any of the Steering Committee members, http://www.sohobid.org/approval-process/ .
Brian Steinwurtzel
Steinwurtzel is managing director, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank commercial real estate advisory firm; and co-chairperson, Broadway Soho BID Steering Committee

House of D falling debris

To The Editor:
Re “Inside the House of D: Where today a lush garden blooms, a sad women’s prison once loomed” (80th anniversary special section article, by Reed Ide):

I remember going to St. Joseph School and getting my hair cut on Greenwich Ave., and the prisoners would yell and throw things out the windows — and my mom said, “Duck and run!”
Patrick Sweeney

Outside the House of D

To The Editor:
Re “Inside the House of D: Where today a lush garden blooms, a sad women’s prison once loomed” (80th anniversary special section article, by Reed Ide):

I lived on Greenwich Ave. just past the P.S. 41 playground. I remember the girlfriends of inmates shouting up to them and a very active police presence on the street. If the shouting got too loud, billy clubs would appear and butch women would be on the ground, sometimes getting kicked.
Joyce Whitby

Out of a job and in the park

To The Editor:
Well, that photo in your 80th anniversary special section of men sitting around in Union Square reading the paper, etc. is certainly not of men with jobs. Nobody had jobs in 1934. My dad had told me of the education he got sitting in the parks — not just Union Square, but that was a biggie — talking and disputing politics with all the other fellows who could not find work. This went on of course for days and weeks, and finally, years.
Brendan Sexton

Fond memories of Tom Butson

To The Editor:
Re “Taking over The Villager was a dream come true for us both” (80th anniversary special section article, by Elizabeth Margaritis Butson):

I really liked your husband, Tom. He had a great ability to edit The Villager and work with freelance photographers. I remember when I heard he had died and it made me very sad. Thanks for keeping this historic paper alive.
John Penley

Likes new layout and history

To The Editor:
Re “Times and tech change, but The Villager’s still here” (editorial, Oct. 17):

As a younger reader of The Villager, I’m excited to see it formatted to be read on more youth-frequented technology. The new layout is much easier to read online and on my phone, but I still love that all the archives are kept in there. It’s been fascinating to read about the Koch and deSapio battles that toppled Tammany Hall, and how notables like Adlai Stevenson and Eleanor Roosevelt got involved in district leader elections. (No offense to the amazing current crop of D.L.’s, but my, how times have changed!) Looks like the paper will be around for many a year to satisfy my need for all the local election and community news.
Dodge Landesman 

There had to be a catch

To The Editor:
Re “Penny mecca” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Oct. 17):

The TD Bank penny machine charges 8 percent. Just another banking rip-off. Take your pennies to your credit union.
Patrick Shields

So long, old oblique serifs

To The Editor:
As a longtime subscriber — who studied calligraphy when such things were still taught in art school — it pains me to see that you’ve replaced your most recent, and the paper’s original, masthead with a generic font. It always gave me pleasure to look at the letters and know the physical sensation of carefully drawing those oblique serifs with an ink-dipped pen. Please give us back The Villager masthead we know and love! O.K., that’s it, I’m officially old.
Bonnie Slotnick

Don’t ban art, like B.P.C.A. did

To The Editor:
Re “Dog shooting still gnaws at him” (letter, Oct. 17, by Alexandra Dixon):

Ms. Dixon: Banning art for any reason should simply not be tolerated in this or any other country. It should also be noted that the current executives of the Battery Park City Authority are guilty of such intolerance through their rejection of free Tom Otterness library lions.
Tom Goodkind

Let sleeping (murdered) dogs lie

To The Editor:
Re “Dog shooting still gnaws at him” (letter, Oct. 17, by Alexandra Dixon):

Ms. Dixon, get over it! This event with the dog happened more than 30 years ago and the artist has apologized many times.

Too bad that you animal-rights nuts never show the same compassion for the millions of human beings slaughtered in those intervening years. Just one dog constantly arouses your ire whenever Otterness’s name is mentioned in the papers.

Salvador Dali and famed filmmaker Luis Bunuel, in the groundbreaking surrealist film “Le Chien Andalou” (“The Andalusian Dog”), also used a slaughtered animal, an ox, in the film’s famous opening sequence, which simulated the slashing of the eyeball of the film’s leading lady, using the eyeball of the ox in its place. Would you have preferred they used the woman’s eyeball instead?

However, I never hear you animal-rights fanatics decrying Dali or Bunuel, or protesting when this film is screened. Why? Is it because their fame greatly surpasses Otterness’s and you fear you would be mocked and marginalized if you went after them, so you obsessively pick on the little guy?
Ralph Prujansky

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